Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Where do You Want Your Personal Transportation Energy To Come From?

  This is a question I ask people frequently when we are discussing the future of electric vehicles.

Do you want to give him your money?
You can continue to buy gasoline, and send about 70 cents of every dollar you spend on it out of the US. That's right, about 70 cents of every dollar you spend on gasoline leaves the US economy. It's true not all of it goes to the radical Middle Eastern countries you hear me crowing about. Actually, Canada is our biggest supplier of oil and they are far from radical and threatening to the US. However, I don't want ANY of my money going to regimes that hate us and funnel some of that money to sponsor terror groups.

EV + PV is a great combo!
After a hundred years of having no choice but to use gasoline, we finally will have a choice. You, as a consumer will have the power to decide for yourself what kind of fuel you want to use for your personal transportation. One of the most satisfying things about driving an electric car and having a solar array is knowing that I produce my own energy for my car. It's something that you would probably never think about unless you had an EV and a solar array, but it's really liberating. We have all become so conditioned to think that when you need fuel for your car you go to a gas station. It can't be that bad, everybody does it right? Well, if you think that sending a billion dollars every day out of the US economy isn't that bad then yeah, I guess it's not that bad.

I'd rather he get my money than OPEC
Even if you don't use solar electric to charge your EV, using domestic electricity is cheaper, cleaner and it keeps every penny of what you spend on electricity here in the US. Your money goes to the coal, natural gas or renewable energy supplier that supplies the fuel to the power plants. It goes to the power plants that employ local workers, and it goes to your local utility that again employs local workers.

Just about every major auto maker is currently working on electric cars that they will be selling in the near future. The first BMW EV to be sold will be the 2013 BMW i3 which is what the MINI-E program was designed to gather information for. There are already cars like the Tesla Roadster, the Nissan LEAF and the Chevy Volt on the market that can completely eliminate your need to purchase gasoline or in the case of the volt, drastically reduce it.

Today's electric cars are basically the first generation production EV's and will have some limitations like range and charge time so they will not work for everyone, just yet. However a good percentage of Americans could live perfectly fine with a 100 mile BEV as one of the household cars and I suspect many will embrace the opportunity to buy a car that can be powered either the sun or a domestic energy source. At least we finally now have a choice.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Electric Cars Will Change the "Regular Service" Paradigm

Regular service means plugging into a computer and downloading data, no greasy hands, tools and oil stained floors.

Every 5,000 miles the MINI-E Trial Lease participants drive the cars we need to bring them in for data downloads and general service check ups. These are extremely expensive prototypes and BMW wants to make sure they are properly cared for and performing as intended as well as gather the data accumulated.

You won't see this anymore with EV's
But how about the "regular" EV's? The cars that currently are and will be production vehicles for sale like the Nissan LEAF, Tesla, the Ford Focus EV and eventually the BMW i3 when it comes out in 2013 just to name a few. What will the term "regular service" mean? I think we all know what that means for an internal combustion engine car. The dealer tells you "Bring it in every three to five thousand miles for oil changes" and that never changes. Every few months you need to change the oil filter, drain out the 5 or 6 quarts of dirty oil and replace it with new oil, and that's just the beginning. You are then going to need periodically replace air filters, fuel filters, oxygen sensors, vacuum hoses, temperature sensors, spark plugs, various belts & hoses and plenty of other wear and tear items. Plus, the exhaust system only lasts so long before you need to replace mufflers, pipes and God forbid the catalytic converter, because then you are in for the bug bucks.

EV's really don't require "regular maintenance". They don't have much of the wear and tear items that you find in ICE vehicles because so few things are constantly creating friction and heat and wearing themselves out. I could see a car salesman telling the new owner of an electric car as he hands them the keys "Call us if you have a problem". Sure you'll still need tires, & wiper blades, but even the brake pads will last much longer on an EV due to the regenerative braking. Of course things will break and need to be replaced, just like any other car, but the it's the regular maintenance items that I'm focusing on here.

No matter how you look at it, the overall maintenance of an EV will cost you much, much less and be a lot more convenient since you won't be required to make all these maintenance trips to your mechanic for the entire time you own the car. Just plug in and drive.....

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Gasoline Cost to Jump $700 for Average Household!

According to Reuters, the cost of gasoline will jump $700 for the average US household in 2011!

Lucky for me, we're not the average household. I do 80% of our household driving with MINI-E #250 and I "fill er up" with sunshine, not gasoline. That's right, I drive on clean, renewable energy that rains down on my house just about every day. My wife drives a Chevy Equinox that is supposed to get a class leading 32mpg, but we haven't quite been able to achieve what the EPA claims it can get. Still for a compact crossover, it is very fuel efficient. I look forward to the day a plug in hybrid crossover is available, we will certainly buy it. She doesn't drive too much so I doubt the increase in gas costs will add up to more than $100 for the year. The last time I checked with the sun, he said he didn't plan on raising his price for sunshine for at lease a few millennium so I think I'm good there. 

There is a better way people, we just need to take it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

BMW i3 Spy Shot Captured

The first photo's of the BMW i3(previously called the Megacity vehicle), the MINI-E's successor have been captured. Up until now we have only seen vague sketches of it. Evidently these photo's were taken in Sweden where the car in enduring cold weather testing along with the hybrid supercar BMW i8. For more jump over to my BMW i3 blog. So we finally get a glimpse of what the MINI-E program was created for. What do you think?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

US Approves Deep Water Drilling Again: BP Gets the First Permit!

This gets classified in the "WTF" files! Less than a year after the worst oil spill in US history, and before we can even get the slightest grip on the long term effects of the ecological disaster that took place, the US government has decided deep water drilling can continue and of all companies, BP was issues the very first permit!!!!!

If you follow the news at all lately, one of the hot news topics on electric cars is the Presidents desire to assist the electric car industry with subsidies to lower the cost of the cars (rebates) and funding to help install public charging stations. This has been met with resistance from some who claim they want the market to determine which fuel wins for personal transportation.

That sounds like a valid point, but people either forgot or never knew the oil industry is tremendously subsidized. There are drilling subsidies, exploration subsidies, refining subsidies and more. Then these companies that make tens of billions of dollars in profits every year don't pay a penny of federal tax. That's right, not a penny! You and I pay tax on their end product and than pay our own personal income tax, but these huge, highly profitable oil companies they don't pay the US anything!!!

I'll stop clamoring for federal assistance for a technology that will help the environment, the US economy and strengthen our national security when the competing fuel stops getting hundreds of billions of assistance every year. Plus, I didn't even bring up the money spent and US troops killed in the wars we fight to keep the oil flowing freely and inexpensively towards the West.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Richard Steinberg Talks ActiveE at Geneva

Richard Steinberg, Manager of Electric Vehicle Operations and Strategy, presents the BMW ActiveE at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. I have written quite a bit here on this car, as I will be driving one when I turn in the MINI-E later this year. BMW has just unveiled the production version of the ActiveE this week at the Geneva Auto Show and Richard was there present the car. (You know, you could have brought me along too Richard)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I'm Interviewed by EBRU News About the Federal Tax Rebate For Electric Cars

Last week I was interviewed by Nia Hamm of EBRU News. We talked about the federal funding for electric car deployment and that funding for diesel and hydrogen fool cell research.Much of our conversation didn't make it to the short video, but you definitely understand my position from what was aired ; )

Follow this link to the story and video.